The Federation of Malaya, formed on 1 February 1948, may be considered a major achievement in state-building in the Third World. Despite great stresses and strains, it was to survive intact until 1963 when it became the dominant part of a larger political entity. Its integrity as a politically unified system was threatened in those fifteen years by numerous secession attempts emanating from Johore (in the period 1955–1956), from Kelantan (in 1955) and from Penang (in the period 1948–1951 and 1953–1957). This article will deal with the most important of these, the Penang secession movement of 1948 to 1951.
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